Favorite Fictional Characters, #169: Vincent Benedict
You would be hard-pressed to find a more quintessentially 1988 film than Twins. It's a silly exercise based on a silly premise, rife with junk pseudo-science, and starring two of the more ludicrous creatures ever to populate Hollywood. Schwarzenegger, of course, is a story unto his own right, and we've already talked about a couple of his iconic characters on this list. But this movie revolves around the jocular-yet-melancholy talent of Danny DeVito. DeVito relied on his peculiar physique almost as much as his beefcake co-star, although the smaller man was always an accomplished comic actor, with deft timing and a caustic, self-deprecating quality that made him both endearing and less pitiable than he might otherwise have been.
Twins is a guilty pleasure, a mediocre script that plays like an extended SNL skit, and yet it's totally watchable and totally enjoyable. The chemistry between Danny and Arnold works, and they eat up the screen together. DeVito's sleazy Vincent Benedict has given up, believing that he's worthless, and when Schwarzenegger's Julius shows up to reveal their brotherhood, Vincent plays along to exploit his supposed twin's guileless strength. There's a lot of humor to mine in their Mutt-and-Jeff mismatched pairing, and both actors are up to the task, performing with unrestrained glee. When the truth comes out in support of Julius' claim, it reinforces everything Vincent always believed about himself - that he was crap. That everything good and pure went into his brother, and he was the scraps, the leftovers, the genetic waste.
This being a comedy, of course Vincent gets over this and comes to love himself for who and what he is. But what I have always liked about this character is the bitter resolve he displays. Life screwed him over, and he decided to screw it back. And yet, when the opportunity came to reach for something higher and better, despite his initial reluctance, he seized it. Just remember, if you mess with him, you mess with his entire family.